Updated at 7:40 p.m. EDT, March 26, 2016
Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr warned politicians that they face escalating street demonstrations if they continue to obstruct Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s reform plans. He also demanded that the premier announce a new cabinet line-up. The deadline for progress towards these ends is Saturday. The influential cleric’s followers have been staging a large sit-in protest outside the government center in the Green Zone. Thousands participated on Friday. The protests appear to be having some effect, as there are reports that about 200 politicians and other government figures have left the Green Zone fearing violence.
Yazidi and other tribal fighters captured an area near Sinjar and border with Syria. The area near Um al-Diban and Um Jurais provided the Islamic State militants with a key supply route that is now out of their grasp.
Security forces on Friday cleared villages in the Makhmour and Qayara region of booby-traps and other obstacles left behind by militants who were ousted a day earlier. The operation to liberate these villages continued with the capture of four more villages.
The Pentagon said it was looking to increase the number of U.S. troops in Iraq.
At least 58 were killed and 106 were wounded:
A suicide bomber struck at a soccer game sponsored by Asaib Ahl al-Haq in Iskandariya. At least 41 people were killed at the match and another 105 were wounded. The city’s mayor was among the dead.
In Khanaqin, a bomb killed three Peshmerga members and left a fourth one with serious injuries.
Thirteen militants were killed in Kubeisa.